So Is It Perfect Yet?

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Try It!
Elementary School
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Linear Algebra
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It's Not (Only) About Math!
More Examples (and Data!)
Less Is More
So Is It Perfect Yet?
What About Google?
Possible Implications
A Threat?

[Note: This article appears best using the Firefox browser.]

Of course not! Even though it never sleeps, it constantly requests feedback and it is processing new information round the clock, Wolfram|Alpha still has its limitations. Some of these are obvious and understandable. According to its FAQ page, Wolfram|Alpha "can only know things that are known, and are somehow public. It only deals with facts, not opinions."

Wolfram|Alpha is not supposed to replace Mathematica and does not have all of Mathematica's capabilities. You may be disappointed that the 3D images do not rotate by dragging a mouse, or that there is no simple way to use the output from one query as part of the input for subsequent queries.

More frustratingly, it can misinterpret your query or respond inappropriately for your purposes. You and your students may be pleased and amused that Wolfram|Alpha gives exact closed-form solutions for "solve x^2+ln(x)=0," but unless you are in complex-analysis mode, you may be appalled at the result of "solve 2^x=5." The good news is that if you click to show steps, you will get the steps for the more standard answer as well, or you can adjust your query to look only for real solutions.


[Note: Contents of frame come from wolframalpha.com and are not maintained by Loci]